What Defines Information Its Value Quality and Reliability

To be informative about habitat or patch quality, a cue should allow individuals to predict reliably their expected fitness in this habitat or patch and compare alternative patches. This depends on several factors:

1. Temporal predictability of habitat quality between the time of information gathering and use is one of these factors (Figure 8); in seasonally breeding species, predicting environmental conditions from one year to the next may be easier than from the beginning to the end of the breeding season.

2. Degree of covariation between the cue and environmental variation is also important: an informative cue will in particular reflect environmental variation without time delay. Furthermore, the standard error of the cue measurement should be low compared to environmental variation; this will be the case when the cue is assessed on large samples.

3. Reliability of the cue as reflecting environmental variation is also one of the factors influencing information value. In particular, if the cue is linked to conspecifics' activity, they should not be able to affect it to provide

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